4 Watches Perfect For A Horological Detox From Nomos, Hermès, Chopard, and Zenith
by Martin Green
There is always such a stark contrast between December and January. Around the holidays, we love to overindulge in nearly every single way, shape and form, yet in January we all seem to suffer from a massive hangover from it all.
We then feel a need to go back to basics. And in terms of watches, a horological detox means going back to the simplest of them.
I have always felt that the basics are represented by a watch with two hands, three at the most; no other complications; preferably housed in a stainless steel case; and fitted with a strap. It is not overly thick or large, and the dial is functional, meaning clearly legible.
Some might say that such watches are a dying breed, but there are still quite a few brands with them in their collections. They are not attention grabbers, but therefore perhaps the perfect choice to start the new year with.
Nomos Glashütte Tangente Ref. 101
With its timeless appeal and diameter of 35 mm, the original Nomos Tangente of 1991 – which is still in the brand’s collection – is perfect for both sexes.
With men, this sometimes can be an issue as larger watches have been the trend for so long that many of them have forgotten how good a smaller, very proportionate watch looks.
With its intensely straightforward design, the Tangente is the ideal of a horological detox, but it is filled with little details that are as nurturing to the soul as a good bowl of chicken soup. Take, for example, the shape of the numeral “2” or the slender, tempered steel hands, which boast a beautiful cornflower shade of blue.
Nomos even stayed old school on the back as there is no sapphire crystal, just as it was in the beginning, keeping the manual-wind Alpha caliber hidden from sight.
I have mixed feelings about this: it makes the watch a purer experience, yet at the same time it also keeps the pleasure of admiring the blued screws and other decorations a privilege of the watchmaker who services it. Luckily for people like me, one may order this watch with the sapphire crystal placed in the case back if one so wishes.
The supple black strap is made of genuine Shell Cordovan made by the world-famous Horween tannery from Chicago. It is a lovely, introverted choice for this watch, yet also one that breathes quality as these straps last a long, long time.
So even from a financial point of view, it is a sensible investment even if the money that Nomos Glashütte is asking is a modest €1,450. Given its build quality and manufacture movement, more than a fair price for such a timeless watch – proven by the fact that it is still here after 28 years.
For more information, please visit www.nomos-glashuette.com/en/tangente/tangente-101.
Quick Facts Nomos Tangente Ref. 101
Case: 35 x 6.2 mm, stainless steel, solid case back
Movement: manually wound manufacture Caliber Alpha, power reserve 43 hours, Glashütte three-quarter plate, 3 Hz/21,600 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds
Hermès Slim d’Hermès
One of the things that always impresses me about Hermès is how nearly all its products in general, and its watches in particular, are so understated. A great example of this is the Slim d’Hermès.
With this watch, Hermès also seems to target a younger generation, appealing to it with a specially created numeral font in a stenciled style. It gives the watch a surprisingly modern look, despite its traditional dial layout with subsidiary seconds and a black strap in alligator skin.
In fact, I am pretty sure that should you opt for an after-market strap made of a jeans fabric, it would look equally as good on the Slim d’Hermès.
The movement is an automatic that gets its power from a micro rotor. While it is made by Vaucher, it can well be considered a manufacture movement as Hermès is part owner of Vaucher, and this movement is exclusive to the Parisian fashion giant.
Hermès decided for an interesting style of movement decoration, opting for repeating its logo on the bridges, which have a very angular layout. It is not what you would expect from a classic brand like Hermès, but then again Hermès has never been stuck in the past with its designs.
For more information please visit www.hermes.com/nl/en/product/slim-d-hermes-watch-39.5mm.
Quick Facts Hermès Slim d’Hermès
Case: 39.5 x 8.14 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber H1950 with micro rotor, ultra-flat at 2.6 mm in height; micro rotor; 3 Hz/21,600 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds
Chopard L.U.C. XP
Chopard is also a brand that knows how to boil its watches down to their essence. With the L.U.C. XP it takes an almost casual approach with a stainless steel case, brushed dial, and beautiful pink gold-plated hands and Arabic numerals.
With a diameter of 40 mm the L.U.C. XP is larger than the Nomos Glashütte Tangente, yet still relatively modest in relation to most other watches. As the watch is also very slender, thanks to an automatic movement that is only 3.3 mm in thickness, its wearing comfort is very high.
What I like about this watch is that Chopard created something that will appeal to a younger demographic without making it a sports watch. The Chopard L.U.C. XP is one of those watches that not only looks good but also has a design that, despite being fundamentally purist, maintains its staying power.
Chopard opted for a sapphire crystal case back through which we can admire the automatic movement wound by micro rotor. While the finishing is very nice, do not expect blued screws or anything like that. Chopard opted instead for a very restrained decoration style, almost on the border of industrial, which only adds to the appeal of this watch.
For more information, please visit www.chopard.com/intl/watches/l-u-c/l-u-c-xp.
Quick Facts Chopard L.U.C. XP
Case: 40 x 7.2 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber L.U.C. 96.53-L with micro rotor, twin serially operating mainspring barrels, power reserve 58 hours, 4 Hz/28,800 vph
Functions: hours, minutes
Zenith Elite 6150
Especially since the anniversary in 2019, many think immediately of the El Primero when it comes to Zenith. But the brand is so much more.
Alongside the iconic El Primero chronograph movement, the Le Locle-based brand also has a range of beautiful automatic movements in the Elite program.
These classic Elite models are the most restrained among them, even forgoing a date complication and displaying the time with only three hands.
This watch is a modern 42 mm in diameter, and it packs quite a bit of character into the dial, mainly thanks to the subtle sunburst pattern. What is also a nice touch is that the slender hour markers are doubled on all the even numbers.
While the alligator skin strap provides a hint that this watch is far more precious than it likes to say, its appearance is hard to place: it could be a very well-preserved vintage model or indeed a modern-day creation (which it actually is). This is in part due to the proportion of the bezel in relation to the dial.
Zenith has also opted to show the movement through a sapphire crystal case back, which has a full-sized rotor that is in part skeletonized to highlight the Zenith logo.
The case back itself is well made, and the different decoration techniques also make it evident as to why Zenith decided to show all this: Geneva stripes on the oscillating weight, circular graining on the main plate, and engine turning around the movement. The movement is deliberately less understated than dial side.
For more information, please visit www.zenith-watches.com/en/elite6150.
Quick Facts Zenith Elite 6150
Case: 42 x 9.45 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber Elite 6150, power reserve 100 hours, twin spring barrels, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds